October 29th Update to Politico comment of October 22nd. The above comment is in reference to "Presidential debate: 5 things to watch Monday" by MAGGIE HABERMAN and GLENN THRUSH | 10/22/12 4:23 AM EDT.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/
The highwater mark of Obamacare is carried in the bowels of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a level that hasn't yet been reached because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still in its infancy. It is the IPAB that will have the authority to declare entire diagnostic and treatment protocols too extravagant not only for Medicare but also for the general public and therefore not covered or payable by the ACA -- that's when Obamacare will become known for its bite.
But that bite won't chomp on President Obama or Congress because both of them are exempt from the ACA. Did you know that? Congress has its own health care plan. The Congressional plan does not include an IPAB to water down care by restricting access to diagnostic testing and treatment. The current ACA does just that. The IPAB portion of the ACA should be repealed even if we continue to debate the rest of it.
Keep in mind that Congress keeps special healthcare benefits handy for itself including access to treatment at military hospitals.
In the autumn of 2009 President Obama stated "I will ensure that no government bureaucrat gets between you and the care you need." It's probably safe to say he wasn't thinking of the IPAB at the time. President Obama has now promised a minimum of 15 brand new bureaucrats.
In the first debate, President Obama said the IPAB would consist of "doctors et cetera." The fact is that there'll be plenty of "et cetera" but there's no obligation under the ACA that any of the 15 appointees to the IPAB must be a physician.
Governor Romney did no better than the president because he didn't seem to realize that President Obama was winging it when he said "doctors et cetera." What else does Governor Romney not know about the ACA except that he prefers his pals in the insurance industry, the blokes who rescind health care contracts once the subscriber has the temerity to get sick?
For a guy known for his financial expertise, we're surprised that the Governor failed to mention that each one of the 15 appointees to the IPAB will be paid $165,000 annually for a total annual budget of $2,475,000 just for the 15 appointees -- staff and resource time will get counted later, right?
The IPAB can be repealed without repealing the entire bill. The mechanism would be to rescind Sections 3403 and 10320. The current stand-off means that one side won't improve what's wrong with the ACA and the other side would repeal all of it to bring back the greed-soaked insurance companies.
See also our October 4th blog; use the glossary to find more articles about the IPAB, the ACA, and related topics.